Papalo = Cilantro + Lime

cilantro flavor

Can you imagine growing a year’s supply of cilantro without ever being concerned that it might bolt?

Even better, add a few dashes of lime to that.

Well that’s what we have here, Papalo. We talked about starting the plants last spring, and how intense the flavor is. Let me tell you that did not diminish as the plants grew.

cilantro flavor

We ended up with just 2, neither of which made it to 6 ft. tall, and that’s probably a good thing.

At about 4 ft. each there is plenty to last us the year. The taste is so powerful that only a small amount will be needed for any given dish. Since we almost always add lime juice when we cook with cilantro, this will actually save us both time and money.

We’ll just hang the plants upside down in a brown paper bag to dry, then store in a food grade container. Then the fun begins as we play in the kitchen, er… work hard to develop recipes to share. 😉

We highly recommend you purchase some Papalo seeds and give it a go, because:

you can grow that

You Can Grow That! is a collaborative effort from gardeners around the globe to help spread the word about the joys of gardening.

Click on the link above for more posts and Garden On!

September 4, 2015  Tags: , , ,   Posted in: Herbs, You Can Grow That!  No Comments

Easy Sofrito

This recipe has moved to the recipe blog. Find it and many other restaurant and home tested recipes there.

September 2, 2015  Tags: , , , , ,   Posted in: Recipe Links  No Comments

What Veggie Gardening Can Teach Us

okra flower


Of course there are many lessons to be learned in a garden:

  • That hard work can pay off. Not always, but often; and especially in the long run.
  • Not to be envious. There will always be a better tomato or more corn somewhere. Appreciate what you have.
  • Life is short. Just ask a radish.
  • That there really is such a thing as Beginner’s Luck. I remember the first time I haphazardly dumped a packet of cabbage seeds in an unused bed, and the restaurant that was happy to take all those heads off my hands. You may have a similar story, or know someone who does.
  • That nature is amazing. Just look at the way a pea is already fertile by the mere action of its flower opening, or how a peanut bends to reproduce below the soil.There are so very many ways plants have found to survive and reproduce.
  • Think of the bees and know you probably have already learned that is much more fruitful to work with nature than against her. Let a broccoli or a basil plant bolt, and you’ll see more bees in the future.
  • Mostly I think that growing food teaches us patience. That anything worth having is worth waiting for. Like the okra flower above preparing to open, soon to be followed by the first okra of the season here. After 3 months.

If that doesn’t teach patience, I don’t know what does.

September 1, 2015  Tags: , , ,   Posted in: Addiction  2 Comments

How to Propagate Basil

regrow basil


With all the talk about regrowing edibles from scraps, we have not seen much about how to propagate basil. Yet it is very easy to use what is growing in your garden to keep a supply of fresh basil all year.

What you see in the photo are  the tops of a few plants that were about to bolt; it’s best to do this before they do flower. We pinched off pieces a few inches tall and placed in a glass with some water and Moo Poo Tea. Of course we placed them near a window for light, and changed the tea water every day to keep it fresh.

Within a short time they began growing roots. Some of the lower leaves died off, but most remained and are quite healthy looking. You can pick the lower leaves off before placing in a glass if you would rather.

It has been a few weeks now, and all we need to do is transplant them into small pots and place in a sunny window. This could have been done sooner; as you can see the roots are rather long, but it won’t hurt them.

After transplanting, be sure to keep the plants reasonably moist until their roots have taken hold.

There you go, simple, fun and an easy way to have that delightful fresh flavor all year.


How to Grow Basil

Pesto Sauce Recipe

August 30, 2015  Tags: , , , ,   Posted in: Gardening, Herbs, Techniques & Issues  No Comments

Fall Gardening in a Greenhouse

greenhouse gardening

It’s that time of year here in Zone 5/6 NE. Pa., and I’m doing my homework to make the most of the greenhouse as the temperatures drop. At the end of this post you’ll find a few links we thought to be helpful.

Our average fall frost is about 4-6 weeks away, and we have already made some changes and have begun to plant seeds.

One of the key essentials to all of this, for us, is to have a hi-lo thermometer. This 2 piece device lets us check the high and low temperatures that the greenhouse had, and we can do so from inside our own house. This will let us know when it is time to open the vents, or to turn on some heat.

We have a tarp on one side of the greenhouse, for now that helps keep the higher temperatures to a minimum. We also have ready milk jugs of water that have been spray painted black, to help hold the heat.

Two sets of metal shelving will soon be added, to not only give us more room, but to help hold the heat. Last spring we brought in a small propane heater, and we are readying that up. We also had good success lining the inside of the greenhouse with clear plastic; just another layer made a big difference. Similarly, we hung some plastic inside the door, much as they do for walk-in refrigerators.

Some new things we are going to do is add mulch to the greenhouse floor, and surround the base of the structure with bales of straw. Not only can this help keep the temperatures warmer, we’ll have the straw ready to stop weeds in the spring outdoor gardens.


So far Butterbush butternut squash, carrots, yellow squash, spinach and dill have been planted inside. Our cucumber plants inside are still producing. Some late started eggplants and tomatoes, happily waiting outdoors, will be moved when frost threatens. In the next week we will be sowing more greens and a number of cole crops.

Of course, we will have to help move the pollen for the tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. This is easy enough to do. Our cucumbers are parthenocarpic, meaning they don’t need to be pollinated by anyone, so they are good to go.

And we’ll be sure to have whatever we may need on hand, like fertilizer. We like Moo Poo Tea bags as they take up very little room and they work great.

Finally, I’m going to go out and plant a variety of snow peas for Mandolin Jones. That’s his favorite veggie to eat fresh, and I’m thinking he may need a wee bit of motivation to clear the short path of any possible snow.

How to Grow Greenhouse Plants in the Fall
The Best Vegetables to Grow in an Unheated Greenshouse
Greenhouse Vegetable Gardening

August 23, 2015  Tags: , , , , , ,   Posted in: Extending the Season, Gardening  2 Comments

How to Easily Declutter Your Garden Spaces

40 Bags in 40 Days is a wonderful system to help declutter your home, click on the link to learn more.

Gardens can get cluttered, too.

Like this garden shed, that is storing more spider webs than actually being organized with tools.

Gardening Jones

Or these colorful dollar store buckets, that would look great in the garden.
If they ever made it that far.

Gardening Jones

Or this.

Gardening Jones

Don’t even ask about the greenhouse.

Or worse, the seed supply.

So I challenge all of you to do some decluttering of your garden along with me.

Here’s what to do:
Just leave a comment here listing what you are going to get rid of.
For a second chance to win, post a pic on Gardening Jones’s Facebook page of an area that needs decluttering, or one you have recently completed.

40 days from now is October 1st., the perfect time to bundle up indoors knowing your garden has been clear of any unnecessary items.

On that day one winner will be randomly chosen to win a gardening box containing some seeds and a gardening book of my choice.

More gardening stuff.
Ironic, right?

Ready, set… Go!

August 22, 2015  Tags: , , ,   Posted in: Garden Projects, Keeping up with the Joneses  17 Comments

The Fairy Garden Gate

fairy gate

My Mother read a lot to us as children, in particular she liked fairy stories. So much so that I have a memory, whether it is real or not, of seeing fairies dance across the tops of the wildflowers in the fields next to our house.

At 2 1/2 my grandson is just coming to the age for these types of stories, and I’m ready. By next summer, he’ll be ready too.

As Grammie, I intend to tell him that when he sees things like the bean plants above making an arch, that it’s really a fairy gate Nature made to make it easier for them to visit us.

Then we can sit down and read some stories about fairies, from a copy of my Mom’s favorite book.

You can be sure I will try to help the plants make as many of these fairy gates as I can.

And you can be doubly sure it won’t stop there. 😉

little people in the corn patch

Grow an Outdoor Playhouse

August 16, 2015  Tags: , ,   Posted in: Kids & Gardening  3 Comments

Growing Autumn Decorations in Place

Nobody wants to think about fall in the spring.
If you do, though, you can be ready with your own autumn decorations when the weather starts to cool.

So with next year in mind, here’s a Pin-worthy post that we think you’ll enjoy.

grow fall beauty

fall decorative plants

The photos above are of our gardens in front of the porch.
We started out in the spring planting large varieties of sunflowers in the back of the beds, smaller ones in front, and intercroped them with okra and flax.

As the flowers and okra grow and bloom, we have a lovely front porch display.

On both ends of the beds are containers of short corn plants, such as these strawberry popcorn, that produce a number of small ears on short stalks. After the harvest, the plants can remain in the pots or be tied up as a fall decoration.

As the flax begins to turn to seed, we remove those plants and plant carrots. Since they can be grown up until the ground freezes, we know they will be good well into the fall season and will fill out the bed with their pretty feathery green tops.

When frost threatens the sunflowers, hardy mums that are now growing in containers will take their place.

Some other ideas we have used in the past are to grow Jack Be Little pumpkins in containers and trellis the fruit, and to grow Broomcorn. Both look great growing and also harvested for decorations.

Next spring we plan on also growing strawflowers, and using them dried with some of our grapevines to make wreaths.

So many decorations you can grow for just the price of seeds, and a lot of them will feed you as well.

Win-win. :-)

This post is part of the Fall Garden Blog Hop.
Click on the link below after 8/17/15 for more Autumn themed home & garden links.

blog hop

August 15, 2015  Tags: , , ,   Posted in: Garden Projects  No Comments

3 Reasons to Grow Yard Long Beans

why to grow yard long beans

They just keep on growing… and growing…

This is our first time growing yard long beans, and it is so much fun that I’m almost tempted to use an exclamation point.

(Writers rule: You only get 1 exclamation point to use in your lifetime. Choose wisely.)

Of course, there is also a writers rule about using parenthesis, but I won’t go into that now.

I was advised once that if you need to use lots of exclamation points to show your enthusiasm, you are not writing very well.

Hmmm… Okay here —> MY ENTHUSIASM

Oh wait, that’s yelling when you use caps, right?

Suffice it to say that we are very excited that these plants are living up to their name.

Here’s why:

1. They are a great conversation piece.

“What the heck are those long things? They almost look like beans!”

(In conversation, you can use as many exclamation points as you want.)

But there you have it, an opportunity to teach someone about yard long beans. What could be better?

2. You can have lunch without leaving the garden.

If you have been gardening a while, and have successfully learned to graze, then you know what I mean. Cherry tomatoes, peas, even assorted edible flowers are great. Yard long beans? They’re almost a meal unto themselves.

3. Don’t worry, be happy.

(That seriously cries out for an exclamation point, but I’m standing strong.)

You can get a great harvest from a small space with no need to rush to harvest. Can’t pick the beans today? Or even this week? No problem.

They’ll just keep growing.

Have you ever grown these fun beans?
If you have, what other great reasons, with or without exclamation points, would you suggest?

August 11, 2015  Tags: , , ,   Posted in: Beans, Peas & Other Legumes, Jonesen'  3 Comments

How to Preserve Tomatoes

freezing tomatoes

Hopefully your garden is doing well and you are looking for ways to deal with an abundance of tomatoes. There are a number of options available:


No need to do anything but plop them into your freezer. You can cut them up to save space, but other than that, freezing is the simplest way to go. This also works well for when you have too many tomatoes to eat fresh, but not enough for a batch of marinara or salsa.

Use the tomatoes as is for soups and chili, or defrost at a later date to can. Note that when you defrost your tomatoes, the skins will slip right off, attached to the cores; the excess water that was in the tomatoes will run off. If you intend to can, this actually makes it easier.


High acid recipes such as salsa or tomato sauce with lemon juice added can be water bath processed safely. If you want to can without the use of an acid, you would need to pressure can. Find more info about both methods here.


Likely the best way nutritionally to store tomatoes is by removing the water, therefore not allowing bacterial growth, through dehydration.

This can be done using a dehydrator, which makes it simple and practically fool-proof. You can also dehydrate using an oven, or even by using your car on a hot day.

If you plan on using your tomatoes as is, we recommend adding a little basil and salt before dehydrating. Even better, roasting them a bit in a cast iron skillet adds a nice flavor.

We like to dehydrate some plain, and grind into a powder as needed for soup and sauce. Here’s more on that.

Mandolin Jones likes the garden to provide us with fresh ingredients for meals, I prefer the way it fills up the larder shelves.

Both ways are perfect for year round healthy eating.

15 Food You Can Easily Freeze

The Jones’ Garden System will protect your tomatoes for an even more abundant harvest.

August 9, 2015  Tags: , ,   Posted in: How to Store  One Comment